Disney Animated Marathon: The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad (1949)

legendofsleepyhollow

Film #11 in the Disney Animated Marathon!

Written By: Homer Brightman, Winston Hibler, Erdman Penner, Harry Reeves, Joe Rinaldi & Ted Sears
Directed By: James Algar, Clyde Geronimi & Jack Kinney

As I sat through the Mr. Toad segment of The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad I couldn’t hep but sigh at the futility of it all. I began to believe that Disney had lost it, that clearly an entire new set of creative talent must have been brought in with Cinderella because this particular group had been reduced to nothing but repeating their previous endeavors. But worse than repetition is the sin of being boring, and with Mr. Toad’s tale I was bored out my mind. Clearly something had gone awry, at some point the creative genius at Disney must have taken a lunch break and a group of amateurs finished this portion of The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad. Then the Ichabod segment began and my fears were shown to be true. Alas, Disney had finally utterly failed me. No longer were they an animation giant, now there were a group content to rest on their laurels and scared to death of doing anything the least bit imaginative with their work. It was a sad time in the Thompson household to be sure.

Then an interesting thing happened, our good chap Ichabod fell in love, a fake and devilish kind of love that led him to his trek through the Hollow. My faith in Disney was restored, the creative forces at work were once again taking chances. Once again imagination was at play, the animation was varied and going places that most people don’t think animation belongs. More than that, the main character was a piece of trash, a dandy who was out for himself and would rather have money over love. And the lone man who took the form of his obstacle wasn’t much better, only interested in the woman of the story because of the idea of status and that the beautiful should be with the beautiful. Oh, where was this type of imagination for the last few movies? Where was this type of storytelling and daring for the first half of The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad?

Sadly, the above shows why I can’t give The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad higher marks than I do. It is the tale of two halves, or two movies if you will. The Mr. Toad segment is downright dreadful, boring to the nth degree and a pedantic entry in storytelling and animation. It inspires nothing but apathy in the viewer and thus is the worst type of creation the mind can offer. On the other hand the Ichabod segment is lush with wonderful animation, possesses a darkness in its characters and story, contains many a catchy song, and most of all is daring in its efforts to be imaginative. If you do find yourself watching The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad skip past the Toad and get straight to the dude with the pointy nose, you’ll thank me for it.

Rating:

***

Cheers,
Bill

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